The Périgord of "Bruno, Chief of Police"

A Politics and Prose Trip with Author Martin Walker

August 25 to September 1

If you’re a fan of Martin Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police mysteries set in France, you know that Bruno is, sadly, only fictional. But his region, Périgord Nord, is quite real, as are the foods and wines and markets and castles and characters that Bruno encounters in his adventures. As it happens (not a coincidence), writer Martin Walker lives just outside of the town of Le Bugue, France, suspiciously similar to Bruno’s St. Denis. Join Politics and Prose on an exploration of this unique part of France, well known for its food specialties (truffles, walnuts, foie gras) and wines (Bruno loves wine!). 


A highlight of the trip will be spending time with Martin Walker. We’ll spend one whole day in “St. Denis,” tasting wines at Bruno’s favorite wine shop, and then going on to Martin’s house, where he and his wife will prepare us lunch, pour us some favorite wines, and tell us stories about the region.

We’ll stay in the medieval town of Sarlat-la-Canéda, with its beautiful yellow sandstone buildings housing restaurants and shops. Small and extremely walkable, Sarlat has more historic monuments than any other town in France.

Politics and Prose trips are always made up of small (maximum 18 people) groups of congenial people who, like you, love to read. You’ll have two experienced trip leaders with you each day – on a trip that features many of Martin Walker’s favorite places in the region.


How many people will be on the trip?
This trip seems a little more expensive than the other P&P trips I’ve been on.
Why aren’t lunches and dinners included in the price?
What’s the best way to get to Bordeaux?
Do we have to fly to Bordeaux? What about taking the train from Paris?
Do I have to pay a single supplement?
I’m coming with a spouse or partner and we want to share a room. Do we both have to pay the full rate?
Do you require us to buy travel insurance?
I’d like to stay on for a few days in Bordeaux. Can you arrange that?
Tell me about the trip leaders.
What is the Hotel Plaza Madeline like? What about the hotel in Bordeaux?
What’s included in the breakfast at the Plaza Madeleine?
Is there internet access at the hotel?
What will the weather be like?
What to wear?
I don’t speak French. Can you help me figure out what to eat?
Is it safe to walk around by myself at night in Sarlat and Bordeaux?
When do I need to sign up by?
Do I need an international cell phone?

Q. How many people will be on the trip?
The maximum number of people is 18, so you won’t feel like you’re part of a huge group.


Q. This trip seems a little more expensive than the other P&P trips I’ve been on.
That’s right, it is a bit more expensive, for two reasons. First, in Sarlat, we stay at a higher grade of hotel than usual – the luxurious 4-star Plaza Madeleine hotel with a spa, swimming pool and particularly nice bar. Second, all the places we visit in the Périgord are spread out, so we’ll need group transport everyday.


Q. Why aren’t lunches and dinners included in the price? 
Restaurants that accept tour groups are usually the last places we want to eat. And we hate eating at long tables where we haven’t got a choice about what to order. Instead, we’ll find typically French places for lunch, and in Sarlat, there are lots of restaurants to sample at dinner. You can choose where you eat, and with whom and how much you want to spend.


Q. What’s the best way to get to Bordeaux?

As of this writing (airline schedules are always subject to change), we strongly recommend flying:

Delta #8631 out of Dulles to Paris, departing at 6:15 p.m. Change at Charles de Gaulle airport for Bordeaux on Delta flight #8322, arriving in Bordeaux at 11:30 a.m.

Our recommended return flight is at 12:15pm out of Bordeaux, which changes in Paris and arrives in Washington at 6:25pm.

Note that these flights are actually operated by Air France, so you can book them through either airline. At the airport, you’ll check in at Air France even if you book through Delta.

If you’re not coming from Washington, DC, then you might still try to get on the Delta flight from Paris to Bordeaux as your connection.

It’s VERY IMPORTANT that you book a flight that arrives before noon in Bordeaux. We’ll pick up everyone from the airport at 1pm for the drive to Sarlat.

If your flight is scheduled to arrive before noon but is delayed, we’ll wait for you before setting off for Sarlat. But if you’ve booked a flight that arrives after noon, you’ll be responsible for getting yourself to Sarlat.


Q. Do we have to fly to Bordeaux? What about taking the train from Paris?
It would be a very long train trip. You’d have to travel from Paris (TGV from Charles de Gaulle airport) to Bordeaux, and arrive in time for our 1pm pick up time at the Bordeaux airport. If you missed that time, then it would be another 2 hour and 45 minute train ride to Sarlat, where our trip begins. We don’t recommend the train.

If you fly to Bordeaux (you must choose a flight that arrives before noon), we’ll pick you up at the airport and drive you to Sarlat.


Q. Do I have to pay a single supplement?
No. This trip is priced based on each person having his or her own hotel room.


Q. I’m coming with a spouse or partner and we want to share a room. Do we both have to pay the full rate? 
For people who share a room, we offer a discount of $150 each. We’ve priced the trip primarily for people to have their own rooms, because French hotel rooms just aren’t as large as those in the U.S. But of course you can share a room if you prefer.


Q. Do you require us to buy travel insurance?
We strongly recommend it. In particular, you’ll want to have trip cancellation insurance, in case something happens and you can’t come at the last minute, and also medical evacuation insurance, which will fly you home if needed. Remember that Medicare is valid only in the U.S., so if you’re on Medicare, you’ll definitely want some basic medical insurance as well. The best time to purchase your travel insurance is right when you pay your deposit for the trip.

And please read the trip Terms and Conditions section below carefully for our cancellation policy.


Q. I’d like to stay on for a few days in Bordeaux. Can you arrange that?
Normally we could, but in this case, Bordeaux will be almost completely booked up the weekend after our trip, due to the big Marathon du Médoc that weekend. Our hotels can’t supply us rooms after our trip. You can, of course, try to book a room yourself somewhere else. Or, if you’d really like to delve into Bordeaux, we suggest our pre-trip extension there.


Q. Tell me about the trip leaders.
Donna Morris has lived in Paris, France, for the last 10 years. She founded her business, Best Friend in Paris, in 2009 with her signature tour, Follow Me, an experience for her clients that helps them see Paris with the same love and appreciation for the City of Light that she has. She has developed and organized Politics and Prose trips to Paris, Provence, and the Loire Valley. She speaks fluent French.

Sheila Campbell of Wild Blue Yonder has been organizing Politics and Prose trips for several years, in countries including France, South Africa, England and Italy. In her day-to-day work, she’s a group retreat leader who understands how to ensure everyone is involved and having a memorable experience. She lives in Washington, DC, where she was a docent at the National Gallery of Art for many years. She speaks tourist French.


Q. What is the Hotel Plaza Madeline like? What about the hotel in Bordeaux?
It’s a quite sophisticated hotel, beautifully designed, with a spa and swimming pool. We particularly love sitting outside at the bar in the evenings.

For the final night in Bordeaux, we’ll be using two related hotels, located very near each other in the old town. (There’ll be a trip leader with you in each hotel.) Both hotels are typically French, with small but nicely appointed rooms.


Q. What’s included in the breakfast at the Plaza Madeleine?
Breakfast is definitely a treat here. There’s a wide selection of croissants, rolls and pastries, cheeses, cold cuts, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, cereal, French yogurt and so on. But – unlike many continental hotels — they also have eggs and bacon or sausage every day.


Q. Is there internet access at the hotel? 
Yes, free wifi comes with your room.


Q. What will the weather be like? 
It’s hard to say for sure, but it should be sunny and slightly cool – but warm enough most nights to sit outside at dinner. It’s always a good idea, of course, to come prepared for rain, so do pack an umbrella, a light jacket and – most important of all – very comfortable walking shoes.


Q. What to wear? 
Wear just what you would at home – casual jeans, slacks or skirts, even for eating out at night.

Of course, for any place where you need a reservation, you’ll want to dress appropriately. But let comfort rule your choices.


Q. I don’t speak French. Can you help me figure out what to eat? 
Absolutely. We’ll provide a list of common menu terms, and let you know how to do things like ask for the check.


Q. Is it safe to walk around by myself at night in Sarlat and Bordeaux? 
As in any city, it makes sense to be aware of your surroundings after dark. But these are small cities with lots of charm, and our hotels are located where there are lots of people about. You can feel quite comfortable walking around after dark.


Q. When do I need to sign up by? 
The sooner you put down your deposit, the better. This trip will, we believe, sell out very quickly.


Q. Do I need an international cell phone?
It’s always convenient to have one, but it’s not necessary. If you bring a laptop, smartphone or iPad, you can always use Skype over wifi; that’s one of the least expensive ways to reach people in the States.

 If you do want a phone, you can rent international phones at many major airports, or you might want to check in with your cell provider to see if you can buy an international calling package for the time you’re here.

Please read the following Terms & Conditions carefully, as payment of a deposit represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.

Trip Prices

The price for the trip is $4485. You'll have your own room without paying an additional single supplement.

Trip prices include hotel accommodations on a single or double occupancy basis, breakfast at the hotel, transportation to locations as outlined in the itinerary, evening social events to plan the next day’s activities, and the services of the trip leaders as outlined in the trip description.

Not included in the trip price are entrance fees to museums and other attractions not mentioned in the itinerary; airfare and airline baggage fees; lunches and dinners; hotel, restaurant or airport tips; costs of passports and visas; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry or room service; internet wifi except as established in the trip description; airport transfers or any other services not specified in the trip description.

Please note that we cannot guarantee any special requests for hotel rooms.


Registration and Payment

A deposit of $650 per person confirms your reservation. Deposits may be paid by check made out to Wild Blue Yonder, Inc., or credit card via PayPal. There is a 3% surcharge for PayPal.

Your deposit is refundable for two weeks from the date it is received by Wild Blue Yonder, except for deposits made less than 60 days before a trip departs; those deposits are completely nonrefundable. Two weeks after the receipt of the deposit by Wild Blue Yonder, deposits are not refundable for any reason and will be forfeited if you cancel your trip reservation. Cancellations must be in writing by either letter to Wild Blue Yonder or email to Cancellations become effective on the date they are received by Wild Blue Yonder.

Once your reservation deposit has been paid, you will receive a confirmation email and further information to help you plan your trip.

We reserve the right to cancel any reservations that are not paid in full at any time after the final payment is due. If you make your reservation after the final payment due date, payment in full will be required immediately.

Full final payment is due May 1, 2018.


Cancellations and Refunds

For any cancellations made before May 15, you will forfeit your deposit but will be refunded any other payments you have made. If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your notification, which must be made in writing either by email or letter. Refunds for cancellation are subject to the following schedule:

• Before May 1: Full refund (but deposit is forfeited)
• May 2 – June 1: 50% of trip price (but deposit is forfeited)
• After June 2: No refund

We strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance when you pay your deposit for this trip.


Changes to Your Reservation

After May 1, if you make any changes to your reservation, a $100 per person administrative fee will apply. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy, you will be charged the single occupancy rate.


Travel Documents

You are responsible for securing your own passport, valid for at least six months after the completion of your trip, and with at least two blank pages for French entry and exit stamps. No visa is required for visits to France.


Health and Medical Issues

We welcome all travelers, but you must be in good health to participate in our trips. This trip requires a reasonable amount of walking – up to a mile, possibly uphill or on uneven pavements or cobblestone streets and streets without curb cuts. You must be able to climb several flights of stairs and board buses on your own. We regret that we cannot provide individual assistance if you require the use of a wheelchair or have other personal needs; in such cases you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you, and you will have to incur the costs of taxis or other special transport.

If you are unable to navigate this amount of walking, you will not be able to participate fully in the trip, and we suggest you choose another type of trip. We cannot provide individual alternatives to the planned group activities. If your fitness level does not allow you to keep up with the group and/or travel on public transportation, you will be responsible for planning your own activities and for any additional costs incurred (for instance, but not limited to, personal taxis, train tickets, and entrance fees).


Trip Insurance

We strongly recommend that you purchase both trip cancellation insurance and traveler’s medical and evacuation insurance for your trip. Please note: Medicare is not valid outside of the United States.

Should you have to cancel your trip at the last minute, we cannot offer refunds, because we will have already paid the costs of your trip to our vendors.


Arrival and Departure Dates

It is your responsibility to make sure you arrive on the specified trip start date. We cannot refund part of your trip if you arrive late or leave early, unless you have notified us of your different start or end date by May 15.



The liability of Wild Blue Yonder and Politics and Prose, individually or jointly (referred to hereafter as Trip Planners), is strictly limited. In no event will the Trip Planners be liable for amounts in excess of the amounts payable to the Trip Planners in accordance with the terms hereunder, nor will Trip Planners be liable for any consequential indirect or incidental damages arising from this agreement. Trip Planners purchase accommodations, transportation and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing trip arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility and liability for wrongful, negligent or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents or representatives.

Trip Planners are not liable for injury, damage, death, loss, accident, or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including but not limited to, without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, defects of any vehicle, adverse weather conditions, natural disasters or the negligence or default of any third party, nor for personal accidents.

In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the trip, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release Politics & Prose, Wild Blue Yonder and their officers, employees, representatives or agents, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this trip, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for this trip, the participant agrees to all of the Terms and Conditions herein.

Trip Planners reserve the right to correct errors in advertised prices. We reserve the right to cancel an advertised trip, decline to accept a reservation or remove a person from a trip if it is determined by us to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general well-being of other trip participants. Should you be removed, you will not be entitled to any refund for unused or missed services or costs incurred as a result of termination of your travel arrangements, including, without limitation, return travel, accommodations, meals and incidentals.

We will make every effort to conduct our trip as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary and other changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will make every effort to select alternative accommodations of the same quality. The forgoing terms and conditions and all aspects of the relationship between Trip Planners and you shall be governed by the laws of the State of Maryland.